Hell hath no fury like a woman denied
When the women of Greece stage a sex strike for peace, sparks fly and comedy ‘pops-up’ everywhere in Lysistrata, a bawdy anti-war comedy by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, which has kept audiences laughing – and squirming – for over 2500 years.
Lysistrata is the comic account of one woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War, as Lysistrata convinces the women of Greece to join together to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands as a means of forcing the men to negotiate a peace treaty (cue anarchy and raucous laughter).
Faithful to the liberating rebellion of Aristophanes’ raunchy and rollicking revolt of the sexes original text, Director Emma Sproule’s not only wild and witty additional contemporary dialogue, but also thought-provoking and revolutionary interpretation, takes this show and audiences, on a journey not to forget.
‘At the time in which it was written, the play was definitely not a feminist play – Aristophanes wanted to comment on the Peloponnesian War and his frustration that it had now been running for 20 years, so he used the idea of it taking women to end the war as a farce. This is how pathetic the leaders of Athens must have been in his eyes, that women, who had no voice in society at the time, could solve it better than they could’, Sproule stated.
This reimagined interpretation looks at the farcical nature Aristophanes intended and turns it on its head with flair, frolicking good fun and underlying powerful messages throughout. It also explores the evolution of the feminist movement and considers how the women of Aristophanes’ Greece had no political voice or influence, but more than two thousand years later, the suffragette movement was born out of circumstances that were all to eerily familiar.
‘This production also highlights the fact that while today women can vote, have a clear and influential voice in society and both perform in and attend the theatre, unlike their ancient Greek counterparts, even now, women are still not equal to men in society and are fighting oppression on several fronts’, added Sproule.
The play also addresses the well-explored notion of ‘The Battle of the Sexes’ with a healthy balance between caricature and truth. This production is, however, a comedy like no other and with many modern variations on the text, it not only makes it more relevant and accessible, but also bawdy and absolutely hilarious. And with the odd song and dance number thrown in, audiences are sure to be thoroughly entertained.
Running October 7–15 at the McClelland College Performing Arts Centre, Karingal, Lysistrata still today has much to offer theatre-goers and society, and if the laughs can shake us hard enough, perhaps they might shake us free of the chains in which a patriarchal society bind us still.
Performers from the Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula, Frankston & surrounding areas:
Braiden Barnard, Lauren Browne, Lachlan Casey-Roleff, Cian Cornish, Suzanna Crismani, Caitlin Duff, Maddison Fleming, Pearce Hessling, Victoria Hill, Joshua Quinn, Madeline Rintoul, Michelle Robertson, Gretel Sharp, Anthony Staunton, Alarna Summers, Gemma Sylvester-Keech, Melanie Thomas, Jett Thomas, Zachary Thomas, Jakob Wilson
Shows: 7th, 8th, 13th, 14th & 15th October 2016
Where: McClelland College Performing Arts Centre 26 Alexander Crescent Karingal, 3199 (entry off Karingal Drive)
Tickets: Standard $30
Groups of 8+ discounted
(Cheaper if booked online)
Cabaret-style seating. BYO nibbles. Drinks at bar prices.
The action will move around and amongst the audience – you will feel part of the action!
Be warned: this production contains course language, sexual references and imagery and partial nudity. Not suitable for patrons under 15 years.
Dionysus Theatre is a contemporary company, recently established on the Mornington Peninsula by Victorian Drama League award-winning Director Emma Sproule.
Dionysus Theatre has been providing innovative theatre for audiences, performers and practitioners on the Peninsula since 2012. Housed in Frankston, but involving people from all over Melbourne, this relatively new company is both accessible and affordable and has already stamped its mark within Melbourne theatre scenes.
Given that Ancient Greece was the birthplace of Western Theatre, the company takes its name from the patron of Drama; the Greek god of wine, pleasure and fertility (suggesting a great night out). Every year in Athens, festivals were held in Dionysus’ honour, including competitions between playwrights as their comic and tragic works were performed, much drinking and debauchery. We at Dionysus Theatre thought we’d do some theatre and serve some wine, but that perhaps we might just leave it at that for now.
Raise your glass to another Dionysus festival!